Lords of the North a novel by Bernard Cornwell.
This novel is the third installment of in the series: â€œThe Saxon Talesâ€â€”the previous titles were The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman. Set in the late 800â€™s in Britain the series deals with the life of Uthred, the son of a Northumbian lord who was raised by Danes and is now a warrior for Alfred the Great. In the novels, Uthredâ€™s travels between the Danes(pagans) and the Saxons(Christians) fighting for and against each, all in an effort to reclaim his rightful estate in Northumbra which was usurped by his uncle. In the process he is party to the avenging of several wrongful deaths and, some what reluctantly, helping Alfred unite Britain while sharing his adventures with a variety of characters, real and fictional. There are plenty of battles and sword fights where men meet their demise in very nasty ways.
Cornwell writes an excellent novel and has based this series on what is known about this era of British history using a combination of fictional characters with real ones against historical facts and places. This combination gives the reader some idea of the times but, better still, makes for a page turnerâ€”I completed the 314 page novel in a couple of sittings because I couldnâ€™t put it down. The only problem is that, now with this entry in the series finished, I have to wait another year to see what will happen next. (Cornwell hints that there are other novels to come so the next book–ala Harry Potter–will probably not end it.) At least the novels are being narrated by an eighty-year old Uthred so we know he survives his adventures.
This series, btw, is not Cornwellâ€™s first as he has done four other series plus a few other novels. Perhaps, he is best known for his 20-novel â€œSharpes Seriesâ€ which takes Richard Sharpes through the Napoleonic wars and was made into a ITV/ BBC TV movie last year.